New invisibility cloak hides in the fog

Simple scheme uses cloudy environment to mask object

4:51pm, June 6, 2014

CLOUDED IN SECRECY  A newly developed invisibility cloak (right) can hide objects in a hazy medium such as fog or frosted glass, as shown in an illustration. At right, the cloak wraps light around an object to fill in the gap that would otherwise appear as a dark shadow (left). The technique works because, unlike in air, light takes a long, pinball-like trip when traveling through such a medium (light shown as red streaks bouncing off blue particles in magnifying glass).

Want to disappear? A new invisibility cloak offers you the chance — provided you carry around a portable fog machine.

The cloak, described June 5 in Science, achieves the challenging feat of hiding an object from all angles and all colors of visible light, with the caveat that it works only in hazy environments including clouds, fog and frosted glass. “It’s a nice demonstration,” says Jason Valentine, a mechanical engineer at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “It sacrifices functionality in one area to gain functionality in another” — namely, the disappearance of the object to the naked eye.

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